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  • #16
    Thank you Jonathan for the excellent post.

    Then when Druitt's own respectful family suspected him of being nothing other than Jack the ripper back then, who are we after 130 years and without all the informations they had , not to suspect him too ?!

    I don't have a suspect by the way, but when a respectful family like Druitt's introduce one of their members to me as being Jack, I find myself automatically suspecting him too, until of course they are doing that for fame and glory, which is completely not the case here.

    When I look at Druitt's photos, I could swear this is not a face of a killer, but then again, wasn't that also the victim's feelings when they accompanied their killer to the last spot ? Didn't Kelly allow him to enter her room and sleep on her only bed ?! I find the man described by Hutchinson a perfect match to Druitt with the information we still have in hand.

    If his family suspected him, we MUST suspect him too.

    Am I totaly out of track here?!



    • #17
      Hi Tammy and Jonathan,

      Jonathan and I have debated at length the veracity of Druitt's candidacy as a suspect over the years, and I have no desire to do so again here. However, Tammy, I would ask you to take some of these allegations with a very large pinch of salt.

      For instance, Jonathan refers to a police chief suspecting Druitt. He is of course referring to Melville Macnaghten, who was in fact not involved in the original investigation and only came into his position after the fact. He wrote an extremely erroneous memorandum detailing the cases against three suspects. To put this into some sort of context, Severin Klosowski (AKA George Chapman) was the preferred suspect of Frederick Abberline, George Godley and Superintendent Neil. However, in recent years the case against him has largely been debunked, and I say that as somebody who was once an avid believer in Chapman as a prime suspect. The "famous writer" was also a journalist, need I go on?

      I've spent some considerable time looking over what's left of the correspondence between the Druitt family around the time of the Ripper murders and into the 1890's (there's quite a considerable amount in the archives), and the JTR case isn't mentioned once. If indeed his own family did suspect him back in London behind closed doors, then I would argue that it was more a case of the combination of Montague quite possibly having some mental health issues, and his having committed suicide shortly after the murder of Mary Kelly, rather than any tangible evidence the family may have had against him. These were panicked times and as we know, not much of a reason was needed to suspect somebody, especially if it was seen as an opportunity to take care of a vendetta.

      Anyhow, I don't wish to confuse the issue too much and I would encourage you to do your own independent research into Montague and his family - they were quite a well known family and there is no shortage of material on them, unlike many other suspects. Just be aware that there is much more to the Druitt case than meets the eye.



      • #18
        No, you are right ...

        No, Tammy, you are totally on the right track - though just about everybody else here will say the opposite. Sometimes majorities are right, sometimes not.

        It's just my opinion, Tammy, but I don't think this subject is in fact a mystery at all, which is not the same as saying it is absolutely proven (as that is impossible at this distance). The solution was broadly revealed to the public in 1898, but forgotten after the Great War.

        So-called "Ripperology" is based on a foundation stone that is actually made of quicksand: that Macnaghten the police chief who advocated the Druitt solution, on file and in public, was ignorant and incompetent. So under-informed he mistook a barrister for a doctor, and so on. Therefore his choosing of Druitt is ipso facto discredited.

        I counter-argue that Macnaghten was competent, meticulous, hands-on, discreet, a desk-jockey who chose to prowl the streets of Whitechapel, night after night. Like many, he was obsessed with catching The Ripper. Instead he had to settle for the thankless job of "Clean-Up Man"; as the murderer was long dead, and the Yard had botched the investigation. They had arrested Druitt the night of the double murder and released him (perhaps with an apology?)

        It was not until Mac in 1891 discovered that Druitt was the actual "Jack" that he had to protect the Yard's rep from further humiliation. In his 1914 memoir he conceded that there had been two streams of intelligence about this suspect, and only in the second was the evidence decisive and definitive.

        Police chief Sir Melville Macnaghten, the famous writer George R. Sims, the Tory M.P. Henry Farquharson, and a North Country Vicar (whom I argue knew Montague Druitt and was related to the family by marriage, and who was repeating the confession Montie gave to his cousin: the Reverend Charles Druitt, who was himself the son of a very famous Victorian, the late Dr Robert Druitt) all shared their solution - e.g. the same solution - with the Late Victorian and Edwardian public (And all were upper class gents).

        The profile of Druitt had to be partially disguised; from a young, sporty lawyer to a middle-aged, reclusive doctor, for three reasons:

        1) to protect a respectable family, the Druitts. The killer was the nephew of a very celebrated physician who had helped turn the public towards lighter wines.

        2) Montague was also related, by marriage, to the family of a close and mutual friend of both the chief and the writer (the late Colonel Sir Vivian Majendie, the Chief of Munitions at the Home Office). This family had to be shielded too.

        3) to improve the dented reputation of Scotland Yard by inverting the embarrassing truth; as in, the real Druitt had been arrested and let go. This became, in Sims' telling, a "mad doctor" who was about to be arrested but he had killed himself. That's a much better story for the cops.

        But all these Gentile, Anglican gents did not shy away from the unwanted truth that The Ripper had been one of their own: an Englishman, a Gentleman, a Gentile, an Anglican and a professional, e.g. not foreign, not poor, not an immigrant and not Jewish.

        Considering how ruthless and unjust the English, upper bourgeoisie could be, these gents' decision not to deflect away from an English gentleman and suicide as the fiend is to be commended.

        I think that in 1891, Chief Constable Macnaghten listened to the Rev. Charles Druitt repeat Montague's confession from 1888. In that confession, perhaps to the chief's surprise, was information known only to the cops and the killer. At that moment "Mac", who as an Old Etonian outranked all other cops in his own mind, wondered how he would deal with this tar-baby ...

        This is the question I always put to those who disagree with my revisionist thesis, and who have every right to disagree.

        When Mac through Sims revealed to the public the identity of The Ripper the information [they] supplied was half-wrong, thus protecting the Druitts from social ruin.

        Was that just a lucky break for the Druitts?

        And for the Blackheath school that Montague had taught at part-time, which would have had to close if it became known that Jack The Ripper had resided there?

        Was it really just a fortuitous coincidence that the press, public, and even those who knew the Druitts, could not recognise their Montie in the Drowned Doctor solution?


        • #19
          Thank you very much Adam,

          Originally posted by Adam Went View Post
          If indeed his own family did suspect him back in London behind closed doors, then I would argue that it was more a case of the combination of Montague quite possibly having some mental health issues, and his having committed suicide shortly after the murder of Mary Kelly, rather than any tangible evidence.
          The last thing a repectful family will do, is to suspect a member of them to be a Killer, this is not how reality goes, almost the other way around, they cannot suspect one of them, specially someone like Montague, to be a killer unless they saw what they cannot go around it and explain..

          If you have a brother with a mental issue, are you going to suspect him of being a secret sirial killer ?!



          • #20
            Hi Tammy,

            No problem. Very little was known of mental health illnesses (depression, etc) in the Victorian era - it's more likely that when it came to the family, Montague if anything might have been seen as a bit of a black sheep, or a bit strange. That's how such conditions were viewed back then, and in turn it would have made him an easy target for unwarranted accusations.

            Druitt also very nearly has an alibi for the Chapman murder as he was playing cricket shortly afterwards. Annie Chapman was murdered the latest out of any of the Ripper victims - it was all but daylight - and Montague was on the field playing cricket by late morning. For him to be the Ripper, you would need to assume then that he was out all hours of the night, rushed to get changed, commute to Blackheath and make it to his game without anyone suspecting a thing - which evidently they never commented on if they did.

            The case against Druitt must, by nature, be fanciful and draw extremely long bows, as the bare facts on their own indicate that he was most likely not the killer. Again I would maintain that if he had died a few years later, his name would never have even been mentioned in regards to the case.

            Anyway, all the best with your own future research!



            • #21
              Thanks Adam,

              My point was simple, If Druitt's family suspected him of being the Ripper, we should also deal with him with suspicion.

              Because all the other things we can explain, even the
              cricket game the morning of Chapman's murder and Macnaghten's errors.

              The informations had been ruined, that has been explicitly mentioned. What a loss for our research.

              Thank you.


              • #22
                Hi Jonathan,

                They had arrested Druitt the night of the double murder and released him (perhaps with an apology?)
                Is there any source or hint for this ?!

                I believe, Druitt would be an excellent author for the Goulston Street Graffito, chalk in pocket, schoolboy handwriting, comfortable writing in darkness.

                Every serial killer must think about an alibi, and the cricket Schedule is a perfect one for Montague.



                • #23
                  To Tammy

                  What Adam gave you is pretty much the establishment position on Montie Druitt, the so-called conventional wisdom of "Ripperology".

                  And it is this 'wisdom' that has to be taken with a 'pinch of salt'.

                  Because it is demonstrably false, based as it is on false assumptions treated, for decades and decades, as fact.

                  As you yourself perceptively wrote: the families of serial killers are usually the last to know and the last to accept it is true. Yet here is a family who did believe without the involvement of the cops.

                  I too have no desire to debate Adam again on this as our positions are pretty much fixed and irreconcilable.

                  I would just counter-argue a couple of things.

                  1) Adam is mistaken re: the Druitt letters. In the surviving correspondence by the Druitts there is indeed a mention of the Ripper murders, and it is very telling. Because it shows that they knew the Alice McKenzie murder was not by the same hand as the previous ones. How did they know that? The police were certainly divided and unsure, whilst the press simply treated it as the return of the fiend.

                  2) Adam is mistaken: George Sims was not a journalist in the way Adam makes it sound. He was one of the most popular and famous writers in Britain, a mega-celebrity, a social progressive, more like a leftist, radio Jock with a vast audience for his liberal opinions - often about true crime. Actually this makes him even less reliable to be taken literally, but he himself admitted this in an interview. But what he was admitting was that when he saw fit, he would warp the truth in dollops of misleading fiction. In 1905 he told a reporter he could not say too much about the un-named Druitt because the dead killer's family had to be protected. But he had given so much away by then that surely his family was recognised by their peers? But they were not, because some of the data Sims had propagated was not true of Druitt - bit of luck that, hey?

                  3) Melville Macnaghten's memo is in two versions and the one for file says that Druitt being a doctor was simply something somebody said (he does not say who) but that his being "sexually insane" - e.g. he gained erotic pleasure from violence - was not in doubt so no wonder his family "believed". He was there for the Ripper investigation which lasted from mid-1888 to early-1891 and Mac started in mid-1889. He combed the files and walked the streets at night. Finally it was he, due to the Old Boy Network, who discovered that a minor suspect. dr Druitt, was in fact the Ripper, who was long dead. He was hands-on. Though Adam is right in that Macnaghten spent the rest of his life cursing the Commissioner, Sir Charles warren, who accepted and then prevented his being on the Force, because Mac, rightly or wrongly, always believed he would have caught Druitt because, presumably, of his connection to his pal Majendie.

                  4) The cricket match is not an alibi as everybody has conceded. It's not even that tight. But if it was an alibi, the Druitt family would have clung to it! They would have known that their Montie was delusional about being Jack and been relieved that at least he was only mad. They could not get him off the hook, and nor could, later, the police chief. Second guessing the people who were there at the time only work s if Macnaghten was a fool and a buffoon and he was neither.

                  As I wrote before, other people who can be shown to be serious and reliable agreed with the Druitt family. To Edwardians it was not a mystery - it had been solved and the solution, broadly speaking, was known.

                  "Ripperology" has allowed the real fiend to escape once more, so that posterity does not record Druitt as the killer but as a tragic innocent shanghaied into the mystery. Poor, poor man!

                  Notice that the question was left unanswered: was the disguising of Druitt for the public - because he was disguised, that is a fact - a deliberate act or just an accident by incompetents that saved the family from ruin among their peers.


                  • #24
                    Re the McKenzie murder, it was reported in the press that Bagster Phillips saw no similarity between Alice's injuries and those of the earlier victims. Perhaps the Druitt family's opinion was based on that?


                    • #25
                      To Gary

                      Yep, that's possible for sure.

                      On the other hand, the comment in the letter fits with other primary sources by different people that claim the family knew and believed in their member's guilt. Therefore the family would know that the Ripper was deceased.

                      For example, when the MP was confronted by Frances Coles' murder in early 1891, he told a journalist it made no difference, whatsoever, to his opinion. Sadler might be the killer of Coles, but the real fiend was dead and buried, and by his own hand. He was adamantine, as others were: Mac, Sims, the Vicar.

                      I think a confession to a priest by Montage was more definitive for the family than anything any coroner said.


                      • #26
                        I don't think this had been mentioned before, regarding Hutchenson's testimony and his long and detailed sighting of the ripper,

                        I tend now to believe, if it was Druitt, he by then had already made his mind to kill himself, and wanted a last opportunity to bring all his fantasies out of the poor Kelly, thats why he didn't care that he had been clearly seen..

                        He had made his mind, he will kill for the last time, the last and biggest ripping of all, and then, no need to hide more, he will kill himself.



                        • #27
                          One other thing,

                          Druitt may have had these fantasies all his life, but one day, while he was reading in the newspaper, he came across the Tabram's murder in Whitechapel, and that opened the wide door for him, and caught his imaginations!

                          Just my thoughts



                          • #28
                            I think that's very perceptive, Tammy.

                            Both the Smith and Tabram murders showed Druitt, a man who knew the East End well - according to the Vicar - and therefore what could be achieved as an evil murderer and the kind of publicity it could garner.

                            I agree, also that Hutchinson sighted Druitt, who must have been in disguise if the detailed description is accurate and it may not be.


                            • #29
                              Hi Tammy and Jonathan,

                              The issue with that is that if you go back through the original press reports, there were countless suggestions of who might be the Ripper from family members, colleagues, etc. That's the environment that was created by the murders. So where do you draw the line? In terms of Druitt himself, all I can say is that i'm yet to see a copy of an original piece of correspondence from any member of the Druitt family explicitly stating their suspicion of Montague and the reasons why. If Jonathan has that, then kudos to him and I look forward to seeing it.

                              If you're interested enough, there is a number of letters relating to the Druitt's on file at the West Sussex Records Office. I assume you can still purchase these as I did several years ago.

                              Jonathan pumps up the tyres of George Sims, but to put that into some sort of context, I think we can all hopefully agree that the pre-eminent author of the late Victorian / Edwardian period was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He of course in later life would stake his reputation on his firm belief in the Cottingley fairies. My point is that just because they might have been well known in their time, doesn't make them any more right. Sims would have been looking for a good story as much as anything else.

                              As for Macnaghten, note that in his memorandum, his three suspects (Druitt, Kosminski, Ostrog) were all either dead or incarcerated by 1891. They were easy targets. If Macnaghten really wanted to set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons, why not name, for example, Francis Tumblety as his third suspect? Certainly he's a better candidate than career pretty criminal and swindler Michael Ostrog. Tumblety was also known about in 1888. But oh! Tumblety was still very much alive and a free man in 1891. Dead or incarcerated men can't defend themselves, and Macnaghten's erroneous memorandum is a reflection of this. Then again, perhaps there is a bit of Tumblety blended in there with the "drowned doctor" - the memorandum is so far out of line with the facts that it's hard to tell!

                              The other thing Druitt is missing is a motive. What's the motive for this moderately successful man of good family, with no criminal history and no known violent tendencies to suddenly brutally murder five (or more) women?

                              As for the cricket match, i'm not sure how closely you follow the sport Tammy, but I take a pretty keen interest in it and have played a bit in my time. Cricket is renowned for being an old fashioned game in which the rules haven't greatly changed in 150 years. So Druitt's game started at 11.30 am, however generally the toss of the coin is 30 minutes before the start of play. Druitt would have had to be at the ground by then as the captains swap their team sheets at the toss. Prior to this would have been warm-ups, etc. So I would suggest that Druitt would have been at the ground by 10 am, 10.30 at the latest. If Annie Chapman was murdered at around 5.30 am, Druitt still had to go somewhere to change his clothes, get his gear organised, take the 30 minute (approximately) commute to Blackheath and be ready to play with nobody questioning why he might have been quite dishevelled. Is it possible? Yes, of course it is, technically he could have done it with a few hours to spare. But is it likely?

                              To me, Druitt actually cuts quite a sad figure. I think he probably actually led quite a lonely life, and in 1888 the loss of his job at Valentine's and his increasingly fragile mental state (the two are probably connected) would have exacerbated this. In 2018 he would almost certainly be diagnosed with depression.

                              In short, the case against Druitt requires a number of assumptions and theorising in order to make it work. Personally I prefer to believe in the principles of Occam's Razor!

                              Take care!



                              • #30
                                The Empire Strikes Back

                                Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a literary god, of course, but the comparison is specious and irrelevant.

                                George R. Sims wrote persistently about The Ripper, not Doyle, from access to the same information as Macnaghten about the real killer. They shared the same mutual friend in Majendie, whom they sought to protect, yet they had to go public - to a careful and limited extent - because of a whistle-blowing vicar.

                                Today Sims is forgotten, again unlike the much more talented Doyle, but the image Sims consolidated; of the murderer as a top hat toff lives forever (the doctor part was fictitious and the suicide real, yet the former element lived on too, whilst the latter faded away).

                                Of course there are no Druitt letters saying anything such thing, and I have never made such a claim. That's a straw man argument.

                                Another is to torture the surviving sources to prove that Macnaghten was ignorant about the case and especially about Druitt. For example, you would think that Macnaghten wrote just one document about The Ripper and Druitt. In fact he wrote three: the draft or rewrite, nicknamed the Aberconway Papers; the official version for file; and his 1914 memoir chapter, "Laying the Ghost of Jack the Ripper".

                                He also gave a press conference in 1913, upon his retirement, in which he brought up Jack the Ripper, a case with which he had never before been associated with in the public mind. He announced that he knew with certainty the identity of "that remarkable man" who had been the killer, and that he had taken his own life - and that's that. His memoir would back up this opinion the following year.

                                To keep the old, debunked paradigm going you have to ignore everything but the unofficial or the official memo (take your pick, people usually only refer to one even though they are significantly different). Secondary sources will say that only Sir Robert Anderson, Macnaghten's loathed boss, was the only senior chief to have claimed to know with certainty the identify of the killer.

                                It's just not true, even if both men were wrong, it's still not true about what they claimed they knew.

                                Ye these mistakes are endlessly repeated - because Macnaghten must be left as he has been created, in amber, as a know nothing who was not interested.

                                Because "Ripperology" falls apart if he was interested and did know things, maybe lots of things.

                                Once more Adam has outlined the conventional wisdom and establishment opinion of so-called "Ripperology", about Druitt being an unlikely suspect to the point that we can practically exonerate this poor, innocent fellow.

                                Because if that collapses then the whole edifice of the UNSOLVED MYSTERY goes down the gurgler. The problem with "Ripperology" and Druitt, which would not exist if the mystery had been solved at the time, is that the mystery was claimed to be solved at the time by people who lived at that time. It was likely to have been the original suspect who was propagated to the Late Victorian and Edwardian public after all.

                                Macnaghten was under pressure in 1894 because he knew that the Cutbush red herring might lead to questions in the House. Off his own bat he sat down and wrote a bit of truth mixed with propaganda. Mr. M. J. Druitt was on file as a minor suspect, as he admitted in his 1914 memoir, but that later information proved he was Jack. Mac strained - and the strain shows - to blend the two streams of information together, as if they had arrived together. In his memoir he conceded what we can see from the Farquharson breakthrough: two streams quite separate in quality and definition arrived years apart.

                                Therefore, to deflect, he created the "awful glut" litmus test. Whomever fits this best is the best suspect. In fact, none of them fit this phony test particularly well as Druitt killed himself three weeks later. Kosminski was still alive and not sectioned into a madhouse until 1891. And Ostrog was in prison.

                                But he needed suspects who were on file and whose profile could be adjusted to make it look like whomever did that to Mary Jane Kelly had a mind that was absolutely shattered. This is why he could not use other suspects, such as Tumblety.

                                Any one of the trio could have been Jack, but the English might-not-be-a-doctor who was definitely a sexual maniac, is the best according to the "glut" criterion. It's a bureaucratic card trick.

                                In his own memoir he dropped the literal aspect of this bogus litmus test as a compos un-named Druitt able to flee Miller's Court for a day and a night, perhaps it was longer? And the other suspects were dropped too. And Druitt being a middle-aged doctor was also excised. And so on.

                                It is the memoir that is the critical source because it was the only one that he wrote for public consumption on this subject, under his own knighted name, and from the relative safety of retirement.

                                In both memos a load of spin was deployed: Druitt disappeared into a fugue state before drowning himself. Kosminski's date of incarceration was moved back to early 1889, e.g. when his solitary vices supposedly rendered him non compes. Ostrog a rather charming thief was turned into a salivating, ferocious and frightening lunatic armed with surgical knives who hated women and - this is vital - he was turned into a doctor, full stop.

                                Yet it can be shown that Macnaghten knew well this criminal. Why did he write "doctor" for Ostrog knowing that he was really a con-man? Because it suited his political needs at that moment - for the same reason he knew that Druitt was not a doctor either. In fact, he can only bring himself to write "said to be a doctor". If the Home Sec. answered a question and mentioned the best suspect, an un-named drowned doctor, this might be enough to save the Druitt clan and protect his pal, Majendie, who had the bad luck to be connected to that family by a marriage.

                                As it was the crisis faded, and nobody at the Yard saw the memo.

                                Another straw man argument is that there was tidal wave of middle class families falsely accusing their members of being "Jack".

                                Really? What are their names? Who are they?

                                In fact, there are no other bourgeoisie, English families of that era connected to two celebrities (Dr. Robert Druitt, Colonel Sir Vivian Majendie) who proposed one of their own as "The Ripper" and whom upper class gents agreed with them. One of them being a contemporaneous police chief.

                                There is no other such British, ultra-respectable family making such claims, with a police chief later learning and agreeing with their hideous secret.

                                Adam asked: why would Montague do such terrible things.

                                Ironically this was exactly the question asked by those same upper class men, especially Macnaghten. Yet they believed. Druitt suffered from a sexual perversion which drove him to kill and mutilate. Macnaghten makes a very modern comment in his memoir about "protean" maniacs; that is men who look normal, lead normal lives, men you could see in the London streets and never once suspect that they harbour another face, a face of a vile and sick murderer. In Victorian times it was thought that such crimes would be apparent on the inevitably grotesque visage of the murderer. The handsome, sporty Druitt taught Macnaghten otherwise.

                                It is not Macnaghten who was under-informed on this subject, but Adam. The old notion that Druitt was only moderately successful - if at all - has long been discredited. Montie left a big lot of dough from a very successful, albeit brief, career as a barrister cut short by his inexplicable suicide. From a Tory family he had won a case shortly before his death that involved the Lord Chief Justice, a Liberal, reversing the decision of a lower court. Hardly any defence lawyers made money from that job because their clients were often too poor, but Montague Druitt did, as an 1889 newspaper lamented: ..a barrister of bright talent ..." with a promising future.

                                In my opinion the problem with far too many books on this subject - Paul Begg's are a huge exception, Mike Hawley is another, as are the essays of R. J. Palmer - is that they are hermetically sealed off, both water tight and air tight, from real life, and from real people, and from real motives and from real politics and from the real historical context.

                                The historical figures who inhabit these books are cardboard cut-outs. No greater victim of this in-bred approach has been the way Melville Macnaghten - jaunty, funny, a player, sly, compassionate, competent, a one-nation Tory, an overgrown schoolboy, a lover of literature and cricket, a man who cared about discharged prisoners, who spent hours, days and nights on The Ripper - has been portrayed as a humourless autotomaton; a cipher who could not be bothered - so the conventional wisdom claims - to find out the most basic facts about Druitt.

                                By contrast the 1995 book by Evans and Gainey, "Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer" (the first Tumblety book) remains a brilliant work; because it is not embalmed. It is alive and sophisticated about bureaucracies and politicians, and reflects the competing pressures of real life on all sorts of people - one of them quite peculiar.